General Assembly 2011: Efus debates and reasserts its position in favour of prevention and citizens’ rights

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The Forum held its Executive committee and its yearly General Assembly on May 19, 2011, in Genoa (Italy) to discuss current affairs, the 2010 activity report, the resolutions adopted in the past few months and the international conference that will take place in December 2012.
The General assembly, led by the President of the Forum, Guilherme Pinto and its Executive Director Michel Marcus, gathered representatives of 46 cities (another 36 had given their mandate). Guilherme Pinto declared: “Our network is not expanding but it is indeed getting stronger. Our member cities are more faithful and involved, and our network is now more tightly knit, active and proactive.” Michel Marcus added: “Our Forum represents today 30 million inhabitants. Our objective now is to make ourselves heard better in Europe.”

The GA gathered numerous representatives from France and Italy, as well as from Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Greece and Mexico.
This year, the Efus General Assembly was hosted by the Italian Forum (FISU) in the city of Genoa, at the same time as the SafeCity@EuroMed summit on new urban security technologies.
Genoa welcomed the Forum in the city hall at the Palazzo Tursi, a majestic building decorated with paintings of one of the city’s most illustrious citizens, Christopher Colombus.
Opening the meeting, the deputy mayor of Genoa, Paolo Pissarello, declared: “Our city is a laboratory of all the themes on which the Efus works. Our main preoccupation is to combine civic rights and freedom with safety”.
Claudio Montaldo, deputy in charge of public health and safety policies for the Liguria region, where Genoa is located, highlighted the importance of “giving a voice to local authorities on safety issues”.
The 2010 Activity report was introduced by Michel Marcus. He explained that the logo is based on the “rhizome” concept developed in the 70s by French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, which embodies organisations based not on hierarchy but free and multiple circulation. He said that the rhizome reflects the essence of Efus network organisation, as well as its working method.
Various speakers shared their experience and point of view about the four resolutions recently adopted by Efus on CCTV, migratory flows in Southern Europe, Roma people and drugs. Luc Van den Brande, President of the Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX) of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) of the European Union, highlighted the fact that the themes of these resolutions “deal with freedom, safety and justice”, all of which are key to the European Union. He added: “These themes are priorities for the Committee of the Regions because they directly involve cities, regions and citizens. They cannot be excluded from the definition and implementation of policies aimed at creating inclusive societies, where everyone can exert his rights and liberties in a safe background”. In particular, Mr Van den Brande paid a tribute to the Charter for a democratic use of video surveillance, a “very practical and useful tool for any city wishing to adopt a global approach on safety”. He added: “In the name of the Committee of the Regions, I congratulate you for this initiative and you can count on us for the dissemination of the Charter.”
On the issue of Roma people and immigration, he stressed that the CoR and Efus share the same position supporting cities and local authorities, since they are on the front line regarding these issues. He said that both organisations are favourable to policies based on the respect of civil rights, and aiming at including these populations.

On the issue of drugs and the central role cities play in the fight against trafficking and the reduction of demand, the Committee of the Regions and the Efus share again the same point of view. Mr Van den Brande declared: “It is high time that we reinforce cooperation between local authorities, regional and European institutions, and in this regard, your resolution [adopted in Vienna in February 2011] will be very helpful.”
Read here the speech of Luc Van Den Brande

Michel Marcus concluded the debate on these resolutions by highlighting that Efus’ objective is to “adopt a political resolution each time we participate in a European project”.

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